Archive for the tag “Europe”

News update

Capitalism is Mother Earths Cancer: World Peoples Summit Issues 12 Demands
Common Dreams
Decrying capitalism as a threat to life, an estimated 7,000 environmentalists, farmers, and Indigenous activists from 40 countries convened in the Bolivian town of Tiquipaya for this weekends World Peoples Conference on Climate Change, aiming to elevate the demands of social movements and developing countries in the lead-up to upcoming United Nations-led climate talks. Capitalism is Mother Earths cancer, Bolivian President Evo Morales told the crowd, which also heard over the course of the three-day conference from United Nations Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon as well as other Latin American leaders.

Why Earth’s future will depend on how we build our cities
Chris Mooney, The Washington Post
It may be the most important number on Earth: 1,000 gigatons. That’s roughly how much carbon dioxide humanity has left to emit, scientists say, in order to have a two-thirds chance of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius above the temperature in pre-industrial times — and thus, staying within what has often been deemed a “safe” climate threshold. A new report, though, finds that if we don’t build cities more wisely, using much greener infrastructure, then they could be a crucial factor that tips the planet over the 1,000 gigaton line — and indeed, that they could play this role in just five years time.

Europes greenhouse gas emissions fall to record low
The Guardian UK
Greenhouse gas emissions in Europe have plunged to the lowest level ever recorded after the EU’s member states reported an estimated 23% drop in emissions between 1990 and 2014. The bloc has now overshot its target for 2020 of cutting emissions by one-fifth – at the same time that its economy grew by 46%, according to the EU’s climate chief, Miguel Arias Canete .

Integrated Energy Policy Formulated To Boost The Energy Sector
Mondaq.com
In order to provide a collective policy covering all sources of energy including renewable energy sources, the Government of India has formulated an Integrated Energy Policy. The said policy outlines a roadmap to develop energy supply options and increased exploitation of renewable energy sources. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy aims at a capacity addition of about 30,000 MW power during the 12th Five Year Plan from the various renewable energy sources available in the country.

16 commercial building spaces can save 8,960 Mwh/year: TERI Study
The Economic Times
Sixteen commercial building spaces, including that of Wipro, Tata ChemicalsBSE 0.57 % and Genpact, have the potential to save 8,960 megawatt hours a year, which is sufficient to power 2,400 rural homes, says a study. Energy saving in 100 such buildings can power more than 12,000 rural homes, stated a energy audit report of 16 commercial buildings across the country by The TERI Centre of Excellence, launched by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and United Technologies Corp (UTC) in 2014.

Indias coal-fueled economy taking a toll on environment and rural villagers
LA Times
In central Indias coal-rich Singrauli district, recently labeled one of the countrys most polluted areas, residents and activists have long complained that abuses by energy companies go unpunished. Each and every company is violating environmental norms, including Sasan, said Ashwani Kumar Dubey, a Singrauli resident and lawyer who has challenged the coal industry in Indias Supreme Court. But nothing happens because these companies run the economy of the country.

Indias climate tech revolution is starting in its villages
The Guardian UK
Solar panels drive a water pump that irrigates the fields of farmer Raman Bhai Parmar, 65, who grows bananas, rice and wheat on seven acres of land. Parmar’s solar energy pump is one of the technologies being promoted by a new project designed to help rural Indians adapt to climate change. The project, run by the international NGO, aims to create 1,000 so-called climate smart villages across six Indian states including Haryana, Punjab and Gujarat.

A nomads’ legend keeps the Indian wolf alive: An unconventional conservation story
Scroll.in
Unlike local farmers and herders, the nomads never chased, hunted or hurt the wolves. The filmmakers soon uncovered a legend of three brothers, one of whom is cheated out of his share by the other two. He leaves but not before bestowing a curse that he would come back to claim his due. The tribesmen consider the wolf to be that brother, returning to take what’s rightfully his. It’s possible that this fraternal feeling between tribe and wolf saved Bent Ear and his family.

Long reads: a selection of articles

The Colonial Origins of Conservation: The Disturbing History Behind US National Parks
Stephen Corry, Truthout
Conservations achievements dont alter the fact that its rooted in two serious and related mistakes. The first is that it conserves wildernesses, which are imagined to be shaped only by nature. The second is that it believes in a hierarchy, with superior, intelligent human beings at the top. Many conservationists still believe that they are uniquely endowed with the foresight and expertise to control and manage so-called wildernesses and that everyone else must leave, including those who actually own them and have lived there for generations.

These notions are archaic; they damage people and the environment. The second also flouts the law, with its perpetual land grabs. For natures sake as well as our own, its crucial to expose how these ideas grew and flourished, to understand just how mistaken they are. Theres an ongoing attempt to wipe from the map the quagmire around conservations wellspring, to pretend its all now transparent and sunlit. It isnt.

The Global Race to the Bottom
Lucia Pradella, Jacobin Mag
The acute hardship European workers are facing is part of an international process of impoverishment.
Unemployment has reached unprecedented heights in Western Europe, wages are declining, and attacks on organized labor are intensifying. Nearly a quarter of Western Europe’s population, about 92 million people, was at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2013. That’s nearly 8.5 million more people than before the crisis.

The poverty, material deprivation, and super-exploitation traditionally associated with the Global South are reemerging in the rich parts of Europe. The crisis is undermining the “European social model,” and its assumption that employment protects individuals from poverty. The number of working poor — employed workers in households with an annual income below the poverty threshold — is growing, and austerity is going to make things much worse in the future.

The weight of the world
Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker
[Profile of Christiana Figueres, the UNs climate chief ]
I asked what would happen if the emissions line did not, in fact, start to head down soon. Tears welled up in her eyes and, for a moment, she couldn’t speak.

“Ask all the islands,” she said finally. “Ask Bangladesh. We just can’t let that happen. Do we have the right to deprive people of their homes just because I want to own three S.U.V.s? It just doesn’t make any sense. And it’s not how we think of ourselves. We don’t think of ourselves as being egotistical, immoral individuals. And we’re not. Fundamentally, we all have a morality bedrock. Every single human being has that.”

Living without money: what I learned
Mark Boyle, The Guardian UK

With little idea of what I was to expect, or how I was to go about it, seven years ago I began living without money. Originally intended as a one-year experiment in ecological living, I wanted to explore how it felt as a human being to live without the trappings and security that money had long-since afforded me. While terrifying and tough to begin with, by the end of the first year I somehow found myself more content, healthier and at peace than I had ever been. And although three years later I made a difficult decision to re-enter the monetary world – to establish projects that would enable others to loosen the grip that money has on their lives – I took from it many lessons that have changed my life forever.

For the first time I experienced how connected and interdependent I was on the people and natural world around me, something I had previously only intellectualised. It is not until you become physically aware of how your own health is entirely reliant on the health of the great web of life, that ideas such as deep ecology absorb themselves into your arteries, sinews and bones.

If the air that filled my lungs became polluted, if the nutrients in the soil that produced my food became depleted, or if the spring water which made up 60% of my body became poisoned, my own health would suffer accordingly. This seems like common sense, but you wouldn’t think so by observing the way we treat the natural world today. Over time, even the boundaries of what I considered to be “I” became less and less clear.

News update

Stakes are high as US plays the oil card against Iran and Russia
Larry Elliott, The Guardian UK
With the help of its Saudi ally, Washington is trying to drive down the oil price by flooding an already weak market with crude. As the Russians and the Iranians are heavily dependent on oil exports, the assumption is that they will become easier to deal with. Washington is trying to drive down prices by flooding the market with crude but risks collateral damage to its own shale industry.

The Collapse of Oil Prices and Energy Security in Europe
Ugo Bardi
Written version of the brief talk given by Bardi at the hearing of the EU parliament on energy security in Brussels on Nov 5, 2014.

India set to defy warnings on coal’s climate impact
Climate News Network
While even China, the world’s leading coal producer, begins to recognise the fuel’s serious polluting effects (as with its recent emissions pact with the U.S.), India has announced it aims to double production to meet soaring energy demand. Piyush Goyal, Minister of State for Power, Coal, New and Renewable energy, says India needs to dig twice as much coal as it does today if it is to meet its soaring energy demand.

We Have Just Witnessed The Last Gasp Of The Global Economy
Brandon Smith, Alt-market.com
I believe that the admissions of financial danger by internationalists, the sharp drop in stocks at the beginning of fall, the reversal of the political theater, and the fact that mainstream investors now recognize the illegitimacy of the markets yet continue with the scam anyway, signals the last gasp of the global economy. I expect increasing market instability from this point on, as well as numerous geopolitical distractions which will be blamed for the fiscal chaos.  

How to Shrink the Economy without Crashing It: A Ten-Point Plan
Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute
Is it possible, at least in principle, to manage the process of economic contraction so as to avert chaotic collapse? Such a course of action would face daunting obstacles. There is no significant constituency within society advocating a deliberate, policy-led process of degrowth, while there are powerful interests seeking to maintain growth. Nevertheless, managed contraction would almost certainly yield better outcomes than chaotic collapse—for everyone, elites included. The following modest ten-point plan is an attempt to do so.

Why warnings on climate spark aggressive denials
Climate News Network
If you don’t like the message on climate change, it seems that the answer is to shoot the messenger. A new book argues that death threats and abuse illustrate how climate change messengers are being demonised in a way that is without parallel in the history of science.

How Green Are Those Solar Panels, Really?
National Geographic
As the world seeks cleaner power, solar energy capacity has increased sixfold in the past five years. Yet manufacturing all those solar panels, a Tuesday report shows, can have environmental downsides.
Fabricating the panels requires caustic chemicals such as sodium hydroxide and hydrofluoric acid, and the process uses water as well as electricity, the production of which emits greenhouse gases. It also creates waste. These problems could undercut solars ability to fight climate change and reduce environmental toxics.

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